A man fell while crossing South First Street at night and was killed in a pedestrian accident last month. As it turns out, the pedestrian was likely under the influence of alcohol while he was crossing the street. According to the police report, the drunk pedestrian fell down twice in the middle of the road before the driver struck him.
Why is Walking Drunk Dangerous?
While the dangers associated with drunk driving on the road is well-established (especially after Uber and Lyft left Austin), walking drunk may also be dangerous in Austin. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately one-third of the 4,657 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents had blood alcohol levels higher than .08 in 2012. A report from the Journal of Trauma found that drunk pedestrians are less likely to use crosswalks and more likely to cross against the street lights. Additionally, alcohol was connected to more severe injuries in pedestrian accidents.
Bearing in mind that the entire downtown Austin area is crowded with drunk pedestrians every weekend and during festival weeks, it makes for a dangerous situation. While the Austin Police Department is doing what they can to increase enforcement by blocking off entire downtown streets and posting officers at the more populated areas of sixth street, the rest of downtown is not as well suited to handle the drunk pedestrian problem.
What Can Austin Do to Decrease the Number of Drunk Pedestrians On the Street?
While the downtown bar scene is part of what makes Austin a hotspot. That said, the city is trying to do more to protect the growing drunk population that wanders home on foot. Recently, the City of Austin just approved construction projects for three new sky bridges. Hopefully, taking drunk pedestrians off the street and putting them on a sky bridge helps improve their odds for avoiding a pedestrian accident.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison is a personal injury law firm in Austin, Texas that fights for those injured in pedestrian accidents.